SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) – There's something particularly special about chopping down your own Christmas tree for the holiday season.
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The smell of pine needles, possible snow on the ground, and wildlife flitting throughout the forest – it really gets people in the holiday spirit.
And this year, Stanislaus National Forest in California is inviting people to come in and cut down their own Christmas trees.
This not only allows people to get beautiful trees and enjoy a fun activity with their families, it also helps mitigate wildfire risk.
"We want everybody that is able to start this tradition of going into the woods, finding that perfect Christmas tree that is a piece of California," said Benjamin Cossel, with Stanislaus National Forest. "For your family, in your home to celebrate with."
The act of cutting down the trees will help thin the forest and keep the forest healthy.
The trees themselves are free, people just have to pay a small permit fee and follow some basic guidelines.
"Look for your tree in kind of densely populated stands," he said. "If a tree is standing out there by itself then that tree is where we want it to be in terms of health for the forest."
Any tree over 20 feet tall is also off-limits. Only pine, fir, and cedar trees are eligible to be taken.